Our visit to Ein Gedi reserve, January 2001

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Just after New Years 2001, Marthame, my mom, and I made a trip to the Dead Sea at Ein Gedi. We took far more pictures than we could put online, but here are a few that can give you an idea of how beautiful the spot is. As the sun rose over the Dead Sea (also see video), I was struck by its glassiness, and by the interesting salt formations along the beach. It was in these hills overlooking the sea that the members of the Qumran community (apparently all men) wrote and preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls, which we had just recently seen at the Shrine of the Book. Then we headed to Ein Gedi nature reserve, where freshwater flows to the Dead Sea. _We saw lots of oryx (this one seemed happy to eat grass at the field station and have its portrait taken) and hyrax scuttling in the bamboo along the river.

We hiked up a canyon, following the water up, up, and up. It was surreal to see this really lush, verdant little crease in the land, with waterfalls and lovely little snails, surrounded by barren brown hills. Somehow, Marthame was not quite as excited as I was by the poo - evidence of exciting fauna. But I haven't yet found a "Scat of the Holy Land" guide, so I'm still at a loss as to what critter left it.